Pilgrims and Puritans: Two Different Colonies

Both the Pilgrims and Puritans were English colonists, but they were different groups who came to America at different times.  They came under different circumstances, but both for religious freedom.  The Separatist/Pilgrim church began in a town called Scrooby in England.  This group began to meet “separately” from the established church of England under Queen Elizabeth’s reign.  They wanted a more biblical church.  When King James I began to rule, some of the Scrooby separatists were threatened with arrests.  The group decided to move to Leyden, Holland around 1608.  They worked hard in Leyden, but were always sort of outsiders to the culture.  After 12 years, the Pilgrims believed that going to America to settle was where God intended them to live.  A merchant in London named Thomas Weston contracted with them.  It was a contract that would bring much hardship to the early Plantation.  The Pilgrims purchased the Speedwell to take them across the Atlantic.  Only about 1/3 of the 600 separatists would go on the first voyage.  They left Holland on July 22, 1620 to join the Mayflower in Southampton, England.  On August 5, 1620 both ships left for the new world.  The Speedwell leaked so badly they turned back.  It was decided that all would go aboard the Mayflower.  One hundred two Pilgrims began a 7 week, storm filled trip that arrived off Cape Cod on November 9, 1620.  A compact was written that epitomized a government by the people was established on the Mayflower in submission to God and King James I.  They would encounter many trials like sickness, death, starvation, betrayal, theft, and cruelty in the first decade of their Plantation.  After that, they bought the Patent to their Plantation and prospered.  They had cows and corn in abundance and other marketable commodities like beaver and otter skins for trade.  In 1628, the Puritans settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Unlike the “Separatists”,  the Puritans chose to remain in the Church of England and “purify” her from within.  This worked fine until Archbishop Laud pretty much put an end their efforts.  They decided it was time to leave their friends in England for the new world too.  Their colony was failing like the colony in Virginia.  They contacted the Pilgrims in Plymouth for help.  The Governor outlined their biblical form of government.  The Puritans formed a similar government and began to succeed.  Boston, Salem, and Harvard College were established by the Puritans.

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